'It's like losing a family member': SC veteran loses his service dog in house burglary

'It's like losing a family member': SC veteran loses his service dog in house burglary

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Columbia Police said thieves stole a veteran's Wounded Warrior service dog during a burglary that took place April 16.

Police investigators said at least two men broke into the home and, in addition to stealing the husky named Blu, stole a flat-screen television.

The dog owner told WIS that the missing television is the least of his concerns.

Darrell Shealy, the service dog owner, served 16 years in the Army and now suffers from PTSD. Shealy said he takes his dog everywhere with him and everyone on the block knows who is he is. The dog is a black and white Siberian Husky with black paws.

"He's my comfort and, because of my PTSD, I have paranoia so having that animal with me all the time, it gives me that comfort zone," said Shealy.

Shealy was not in the house during the burglary. When Shealy and his wife came back to the house Monday evening, they noticed right away Blu was missing.

 "She noticed right off the bat because he always attacks her as soon as she walks in the house," said Shealy. "We searched through the house calling him and he's nowhere to be found." 

Shealy said his husky was in the locked house while they were gone and "there's no way he could have escaped."

"The most difficult part is having someone, first of all, come into my home and then to take something as close to me as my dog, that's like, to me, taking a family member," said Shealy.

RELATED: Veteran's service dog stolen during Columbia home burglary, CPD says

Shealy said he has not been back to the house since the incident occurred.

"Not only do me and my wife feel like our home was violated, I don't feel comfortable anymore," he said. "If you come in and take an 80-pound, 10-month-old dog, I have no idea what kind of harm you might cause me."

Shealy said his message to whoever stole Blu is to please return him.

"That emotional connection with the dog and you're going through the training process and everything you're very emotionally attached to him. It's not like going out and buying a car. You cant get over that emotional loss and buy another one," said Shealy.

Investigators said the suspects left in a white Toyota Sienna CE, possibly a 2001 to 2003 model, with a South Carolina license plate and a trailer hitch. The license plate number was not given.

Police said they have received one tip but are still investigating the case.

Citizens with information about the case, vehicle and, in particular, the dog's whereabouts are encouraged to contact CRIMESTOPPERS in any of the following ways: CALL toll-free, 1-888-CRIME-SC or log onto www.midlandscrimestoppers.com.

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